Prologue–Deadly Heat Back to Blog

I love prologues. I think they are a great way to take readers right into a character’s early life. You can dive  into the action with a prologue. Reveal a pivotal piece of character development, show a great turning point–all in a few early pages.

When I wrote the Deadly books (DEADLY FEAR, DEADLY HEAT, and DEADLY LIES), I deliberately started each story with a prologue. The prologues all show very dark moments in the pasts of the characters. In DEADLY FEAR, the prologue is told in the POV of Keith Hyde, the guy who creates the Serial Services Division in the FBI.

In DEADLY HEAT, I decided to tell the prologue from a different character’s POV…for this story, I wanted to start on the villain’s point of view.  As I wrote the prologue,  I wondered…are some people born evil? Or do people become monsters as they grow?



The fire came at him, fast and hot. The orange flames licked across the floor, climbed the walls, and rolled in hungry waves.

The screams filled his ears. His mother’s cries. She called for him, over and over, but he didn’t answer her. Couldn’t. The flames and smoke had stolen his breath, and all he could do was watch.

So beautiful. The flames danced for him. Danced and whispered. Crackled and spit. He couldn’t look away. Didn’t want to.

Smoke billowed around him, trapping him in a fog. His fingers curled tight over his precious prize.  Won’t let go. Won’t ever let go.

The fire touched him, biting his arm, but he didn’t cry out.

He just watched.

And his mother stopped screaming. Just like his dad had stopped. He’d stopped long ago…

The flames were bigger. Rolling toward him now. Faster, faster. So hot. His lips began to curl.

Then the monsters came. Giant beasts with long noses, robot eyes, and tubes shooting from their mouths.

One grabbed him, slapping at his left arm, and he screamed.

But the monster didn’t let him go.

Water shot at the flames. Cold, icy water that hit his skin.

The monster’s arms were tight around him.  And then the monster ran, taking him right through the thick smoke and letting him see those dancing flames again.

Again. More.

The fresh air hit him.  He choked at the first taste and the monster was there, always there, but yanking off a mask and it was—

A man. “The kid’s alive!  Get me some oxygen! Get the damn EMTs over here!”

More hands. Touching. Stroking. Hurting. Another man shoved a mask over his face. No, don’t want it, don’t want—

The mask pressed too hard against his nose and mouth.

The same man rubbed something ice-cold on his arm right over the fire’s kiss. Then the guy wrapped bandages around him and slapped tape around the edges.

They put him on a stretcher. As they hauled him toward an ambulance, he saw his house. Firefighters stood on the roof, swinging with their axes, sending fire and smoke billowing into the sky.

The windows at the front of his home exploded, and giant shards of glass flew onto the porch.

Firefighters ran out of the doorway, yelling. One had his mother in his arms.

She wasn’t moving and her body…

He glanced down at his hand, still clenched so tight around his prize.

“It’s gonna be okay, boy. You’re gonna be fine…”  This came from the man who’d pulled him out. A big guy, with red cheeks and dark green eyes. “You’re safe now.”

But his mom wasn’t. Neither was his dad.

A shout came, an order for backup, and the man turned away.

His fingers uncurled.

The match lay in his hand. The red tip was black now.

“Got to be arson, sir…the way the fire is spreading…accelerant…”  Another firefighter, talking quickly to a guy with a big radio.

He let the match slide from his fingers.  It fell to the ground and sank into the grass.

“All right, kid.” The EMT was back. Looking pale, tense. “It’s time to get you to the hos—”

“My mom’s dead.”

The man swallowed. “I’m sorry.”

He looked at that fire. So bright now.  “My dad, too?”  He already knew.

“We got a call in to your grandparents—”

He didn’t cry.  Didn’t blink.

“We’re gettin’ you to the hospital.”  A woman appeared at his side. They lifted him up and put him in the back of the ambulance. The doors slammed closed, shutting out the fire.

But I wanted to watch. His lips tightened.

He looked at his palm. He could see the black marks from the match.

The siren screamed on.

And he smiled.

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19 responses to “Prologue–Deadly Heat”

  1. Viki S. says:

    Oh my God. I love prologues and this one is SO meaty!

  2. Jillian says:

    Love the prologue!!! Sounds like a great read! Can’t wait to get my hot little hands on it.

  3. Diane Sadler says:

    Good Lord! I guess that answers your question about being born evil or not. I’m anxious to read the whole story now with that excerpt!

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Thanks for checking out the excerpt, Diane! 🙂 I’m always curious about the nature vs. nurture idea on evil. This book let me test things a bit.

  4. Well you have completely creeped me out LOL….score one for Cynthia.

  5. Edie Ramer says:

    That was one creepy kid. You gave me the shivers, Cynthia. Great excerpt!

  6. Melissa says:

    OMG, I can’t WAIT!!
    Love the eerie prologue, Cynthia!!

  7. Valerie says:

    Wow, that was creepy and makes me want to read MORE!!!!

    in Germany

  8. azteclady says:

    To answer your question… I believe it can be both, for different people.

    *waiting with bated breath*

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      I get scared when I think there could be folks actually born evil, but sometimes, I do wonder…but maybe that comes from me watching too many horror movies!

      How are you doing?

  9. Denise T. says:

    OMG – Great prologue – can’t wait!!

  10. Catherine says:

    Omg I love the prologue, so detailed and meaty lol. I def can’t wait to get this book. I love ur books Cynthia.